481 more students, faculty and staff at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa tested positive for the coronavirus between Tuesday and Thursday, according to information released Friday on the UA System's new COVID-19 Dashboard. 

Added to the 562 who tested positive in the five days after classes resumed last Wednesday, there have now been more than 1,040 cases confirmed on the Tuscaloosa campus since August 19th.

The System's University of Alabama in Huntsville and and the University of Alabama at Birmingham both added just 10 cases in the same time period.

According to the Dashboard, a little over 36 percent of isolation space set aside on the Tuscaloosa campus is now occupied.

The increase in cases poses an imminent threat to the continuation of in-person instruction on the Tuscaloosa campus, and UA President Stuart Bell is urging the student population to take the virus seriously, wear a mask, practice social distancing and avoid large gatherings. In a message to students sent Wednesday, Bell also warned of serious consequences for anyone who fails to follow the rules and regulations in place to slow the spread of COVID-19, including suspension from the University.

The first spike in positive cases, when 562 were detected on campus, prompted Bell to urge Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox to issue an executive order closing all of the city's 29 standalone bars until at least September 8th.

Maddox is now working to develop a financial relief package that aims to grant more than $400,000 to the bars and restaurants affected by his executive order.

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